After music, modeling and fashion are favorite interests of mine. These are my top ten picks for the top black female models of the past decade. The list is based on body of work, appearance, and visibility. Feel free to make any suggestions.
1. Liya Kebede is an Ethiopian runway and editorial model. She is one of the highest paid models in the world. She has an elegant and classically beautiful face.
2. Jordan Richardson is an American editorial model. She has a sweet and hip look.
3. Oluchi Onweagba is a Nigerian editorial, swimsuit, and runway model. She has model long legs and beautiful skin.
4. Jourdan Dunn is an English runway and editorial model. She has a face made for high fashion.
5. Noémie Lenoir is a French editorial and runway model of Malagasy and French descent. She is versatile, with a face that can be sweet and innocent, then strong and fierce.
6. Arlenis Sosa is a Dominican editorial and print model and current spokesmodel of Lancome cosmetics. She has a uniquely beautiful face and glowing skin.
7. Chanel Iman is an American editorial and runway model of black and Korean descent. Her look is cute and fresh.
8. Yasmin Warsame is a Somalian runway and editorial model. She has a strong face that makes her a runway favorite.
9. Yaya DaCosta is an American print model and runner-up on America’s Next Top Model Cycle Three. She is graceful with the body of a dancer (and she is one).
10. Bre Scullark is an American print model. She finished third on the fifth cycle of America’s Next Top Model. She has a sweet face which can also look high fashion.
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order by first name): Adaora Akubilo, Alek Wek, Danielle “Dani” Evans, Jaunel McKenzie, Quiana Grant, Selita Ebanks, Sessilee Lopez, Toccara Jones
they’re all lovely. but i admit i’m not familiar with most of them.
temple, I think many people don’t pay too much attention to models/modeling besides Victoria’s Secret models. But I’ve always had a love for fashion and photography.
I love this post. I used to pay much closer attention to models when I was younger. I grew tall young, and Naomi Campbell was my biggest inspiration as a kid. But alas, I developed a giant rack in junior high, and breasts are not considered “fashion friendly”. Lol.
A lot of today’s models are pretty forgettable, probably because they are required to be so bony. Fashion designers no longer have to compete with their models for attention. It used to be about the models, now it’s the designers and their ugly clothes. Lol. I miss the good ole fashion days.
Only Victoria’s Secret is smart enough to realize that the models can move way more merchandise if they look like women. Even ugly clothes look better on a woman with a great body.
I love some of today’s models, like the ones in this post. Some of them, although pretty thin, have very memorable faces, like Jourdan Dunn and Noemie Lenoir. Naomi Campbell was/is pretty skinny too!
Yes, but that is not what I mean. Both Naomi Campbell and Noemie Lenoir have modeled for Victoria’s Secret. As well as Oluchi, Arlenis and Chanel Iman. Models are not really represented well in the media anymore. They aren’t even featured on magazines covers like Allure and Elle anymore (the only two fashion related mags I’ve bothered to read in the last four years). It’s all about plain Jane celebs now.
I’m sure you’re aware, if things are getting harder for White models, then they are even worst for models of color. And let’s face it, you’d be hard pressed to find a truly flat chested/assed BW, no matter how thin she was, and that is one of the excuses some designers use for why they don’t book Black models. I’ve read more than one article where Black models (who have the same measurements as their White counterparts) have stated this prejudice against them themselves.
I don’t think alek wek is an “honourable mention” over people like yaya and bre. are you kidding? they’ve hardly done ANYTHING when compared to alek wek. please.
Well, the list is my (informed) picks/opinion. I happen to like Yaya and Bre’s work better than Alek’s. I feel like Alek only ever does one look — contrast black/white, light/dark. Therefore all of her photos look essentially the same to me. I also think she needs hair (like the vast majority of women).
But you can think of her as #11, to Yaya’s 9 and Bre’s 10. 🙂
I think Bre and Yaya are very pretty but I dont see them as models compared to the others especially Bre. I know their print and not high fashion models but I still see their pictures and just think really pretty girl but not model even compared to other commercial models. I use to watch top model. On Bre’s season I remember preferring Nic over her (as a model only not really facially). Out of this list I like Jordan Dunn and Jordan Richardson the best. I also do like Selita Ebanks.
I cant really see Alek with hair.
What a beauty! So naturally beautiful, those eyes and pouty lips. I almost want to kiss her lol.
You don’t see model in this? Or this?
She is “pretty” but Bre can model with the best of them.
I agree Nic has more of an edgy look, but not all models have to be edgy.
“Out of this list I like Jordan Dunn and Jordan Richardson the best.”
The Jo(u)rdans are two of my faves.
“I cant really see Alek with hair.”
She looks way better, although I’d probably go for a Yaya-esque fro for her.
I don’t know why she agrees with this “natural” look they given her. She looks much better, yet still like a model, with hair, make-up, and earrings. You know, stuff that every other woman, including models, wear.
“I almost want to kiss her lol.”
I do want to kiss her! 🙂
But umm, I’m trying to figure out why Jordan Richardson looks so light in those photos. She has been looking a lot lighter recently. I’ve followed her career since she was an unknown, and she’s always been a brown color, about Bre’s complexion. But in recent pics she seems to have lost her coloring. I’m not liking it.
Could just be lighting, she doesnt look artificially light skinned . Its hard to say a black persons color based off pics. Id have to see her in some interviews or in person but most of the pics ive seen she looks lighter end of medium but I havent followed her cause I dont follow models like that but I know who everyone on this list is. Jordan Richardson is the only one Id consider going temporarily gay for.
“Could just be lighting”
In all of the pictures, even the semi-candid one you posted?
No, there is something going on here. I’m not saying she lightened her skin, but there’s definitely something going on.
“Its hard to say a black persons color based off pics.”
Well, when you’ve seen hundreds of pictures of a person (remember, I used to mod at a fashion forum and there was a models section), you have a good idea of what skin tone range they are in, even if not the exact color. I doubt anyone would call Reggie Bush “light-skinned” even though he looks a slightly different color in every photo…
Jordan was on the darker end of medium brown. But if you were to categorize her photos chronologically, you’ll notice that the more recent ones are a lighter color.